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[dcs_fancy_header bgcolor=”#ffffff” color=”#000000″ fweight=”bold”]Steve Coulston gives us a close-up look at the Stealth LT Jacket from Triple Aught Design.[/dcs_fancy_header]

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During my military service as a Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC), I spent the majority of my time on the water. I was a Rigid Hull, Inflatable Boat (RHIB) guy, meaning our high-speed boats were completely exposed to the elements. Salt water, sun exposure, hale, sandstorms and wind all ripped at our gear. Imagine travailing at high speeds, in the open ocean, in inclement weather while completely exposed. Think sand blaster. Lesser quality gear was destroyed very quickly and had to be replaced which is why we were always looking for top-notch kit. As would be expected, climate, conditions and mission profile would dictate what our gear load out would be. Typically, our weather protective systems consisted of wet suits, dry suits and water proof jackets. The latter would was primarily made out of Gore-Tex. For the most part our issued gear got the job done and provided adequate protection from the elements while maintaining our core body temperature.

Fast-forward 17 years and the same systems are still in use, however they perform better, last longer and are more durable thanks to advances in clothing technology. Triple Aught Design continues to be on the cutting edge of hard use clothing innovation and is constantly striving to provide their end users with clothing and gear that will take the abuse and ask for more. Regardless if you are an avid outdoors junkie, city walker or door kicker, TAD makes gear and apparel to suit your lifestyle.

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For a guy like me who lives in the Pacific Northwest, dampness is the norm. It is usually gloomy and raining nine month out of the year, while the remaining three months lets us know the sun still does exist. Most of us are pale from lack of sun exposure and we have a tendency to grow moss on our backs. Ok, I was kidding about the pale part. Us Pacific Northwesters are used to dressing in layers and need a good soft or hard shell to hold everything together. When it gets really nasty out, a hard shell is the only way to go. I have a lot of jackets, but very few hard shells. Up until recently, my hard shell collection was made up of old military issued gear. It’s old, but is still in decent condition and sports an outdated woodland camo pattern. Time to upgrade.

Recently, I received a Triple Aught Design Stealth LT. The Stealth LT is TAD’s flagship hard/soft shell hybrid jacket. The Stealth LT is designed right here in the good ol US of A at Triple Aught Design headquarters in San Francisco. Production of the Stealth takes place in Canada. Upon receiving the jacket, it was very apparent a lot of thought went into designing the outer garment. The fit and construction are very impressive but it wasn’t until I started doing a little research on the features that I really was impressed.

Tech Specs

The Stealth is not just another wind breaker or hard shell. It is designed for rugged use and is completely waterproof. The jacket features a fully seam-taped construction, making the Stealth LT completely waterproof. Unlike, my older shells, the Stealth LT is not made of Gore-Tex rather is consists of three unique materials by Schoeller. The materials are Schoeller 3xDry™, Schoeller coldblack® and Schoeller c_change™. They work in unison to provide superior protection. First, the 3xDry™ layer wicks moisture away from the body during high activity. This is important because once the body stops moving, in a cold environment any trapped moisture will eventually cool and cause chills. The 3xDry™ helps to prevent this phenomenon while repelling stains and water. The coldblack® technology works to reflect the UV-rays. This does two things. First it helps to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating. The under armpit ventilation ports supplement this as well. Second, it helps to prevent the garment from breaking down over time due to UV exposure. This was common with older shells that were exposed to lots of sun and water. They would crack and fade over time. The coldblack® layer helps prevent that. Lastly, the c_change™ system provides a wind and waterproof membrane with advanced self-regulating climate control. This membrane actually reacts to environment by opening during hot temperatures and closing during close temperatures. Think of it as a smart jacket! According to Triple Aught Design, the Schoeller system is superior to Gore-Tex because Gore-Tex isn’t as breathable and is a laminate that will eventually wear off. Unlike Gore-Tex, Schoeller’s waterproofing comes from the fabric itself and won’t wear out.

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There is a stereotype that hard shell jackets are stiff and clunky. While that may be true with some, it isn’t with the Stealth LT. The Stealth LT is very comfortable similar to a traditional soft shell and allows generous movement without feeling restricted. This is due to the 4-way stretch technology built into the jacket. Even though it is flexible, it is also very rugged. It is made from an abrasion-resistant nylon material that will take a beating. This material is doubled up under the forearm and elbow area. These are high stress areas that will break down easy especially for anyone who is prone a lot such as hunters, LEO or military.

Zippers, Storage and other Nifty Features

TAD uses Riri AQUAzip™ zippers with pull cords. This means the zippers are fully bonded directly to the zipper tape and made of a water-resistant laminate. This results in the elements staying outside and you staying warm inside. Because of the bonding, the zippers may feel a little stiff. This is normal and should not raise concern. The internal wind flap under full length zipper on the front of the jacket is also acts as double protection against the elements. The Riri AQUAzip™ zippers can be found on all six of the exterior pockets of the Stealth LT and the under armpit zippers.

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The storage compartments on the Stealth LT are well placed and easily accessible. There is a single pocket on the cuff of the left arm. This is perfect for storing keys, a chemlite, spare cash and other small items. There is also a generous bicep pocket on each arm with an internal D ring attachment should you want to tether gear to the jacket. This is very useful for a compass, smart phone or small GPS device. Next there are two large cross draw pockets on either side of the main jacket zipper. These pockets can hold larger items, are easily accessed with either hand from either side and also feature the internal D ring. They also feature media ports for your smart phone or radio. The cord exits the interior side of the pocket and can be routed up through an internal loop to the user’s ear, a very nice touch. Lastly, there is a pass through pocket on the tail end of the jacket. This is accessed on either side, great for storing items that may be a bit bulky like gloves or a watch cap.

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Other unique features include large 3×5 inch patch fields on each arm for unit or moral patches. Smaller 1×1 inch fields can be found on the built in storable Aero hood. These are specifically for the use of Ranger Eyes or glint tape. There is another 1×1 field near the lower right hand side hem of the jacket. This comes equipped with the Triple Aught Design logo patch already installed. If patches aren’t your thing, the jacket can be ordered without the patch fields. As I mentioned the adjustable Aero hood is storable. There is an internal flap that is held in place when not in used. Should the need arise, roll up the hood, and use the strap to secure the hood in place.

Adjustable and Layering Features

The cuffs are adjustable via dyed-to-match Velcro straps. This is useful when using the jacket as the outer layer in a multi-layer configuration. The jacket can also be adjusted at the drop-tail hem with an internal locking draw cord. It should be noted the Stealth LT is cut to mate perfectly with the Ranger Hoodie and Ranger Hoodie LT. Depending on how cold it is, layering will enhance the user comfort during outdoor activity. Personally, I have used the Stealth LT with my Ranger Hoodie and have found it to be my go to crummy weather layering system. Of course you can use any undergarment with the Stealth LT, however utilizing the TAD undergarments makes for a sound system that will keep the elements out and feel plush on the inside.

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Conclusion

The Stealth LT is hands down my go to outer layer for nasty weather. It keeps me dry and warm and works perfectly with my Ranger Hoodie. While all body types differ, I find the Stealth LT in XL fits me very well and provides enough room for under layers without it feeling like I am wearing a tent. It is a sharp looking aggressive jacket that will be appreciated by both men and women alike. Triple Aught Design has done a good job of putting a lot of thought and user feedback into their gear and the Stealth LT is no exception. If I could add a few things to the Stealth LT it would be the following. First, it would be nice to have a zipper that ran vertically 8 to 12 inches along each side at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. This would allow easy access to a side arm or side sub load for LEO and military users. Second, an internal pocket or two would be nice. Something large enough to have an internal hook and loop field on the inside to attach other mission required items such as a holster, spare magazine. A smaller pocket with elastic looping for storage of chemlites, pens, or a small flashlight would be nice too.

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The Stealth LT is an exceptional outer garment that can be used as a standalone item or part of a multi-layered system. Even though summer is here and the sun is starting to show itself in the Pacific Northwest, part of me longs for a monsoon or snowstorm… another excuse to throw on the Stealth LT and brave the elements. Living where I live, I am sure I won’t have to wait long…

The Stealth LT can be ordered directly from Triple Aught design as a patched or non-patched version. It comes in three colors to include Black, Loden Green and UE Grey. Size options range from XS to XXXL. Cost is $475 and worth every penny.

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Steve has been a firearms enthusiast for over 20 years and is currently an NRA lifetime member. In 1996 he joined the United States Navy and served as a Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC) at Special Boat Unit 12 (Now renamed Special Boat Team 12). He made two tours during his time of service and spent most of his time in southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern theaters. Upon his Honorable Discharge in 2000, Steve spent the next 10 years earning his Masters Degree and state license as an Architect. Steve brings a unique perspective from both his tactical and design background and is a reviewer and contributor for Guns & Tactics Magazine, Defense Marketing Group and other media outlets.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I definitely see the application for the Stealth LT in my line of work. I have been working on the water for the past 23 years with no end in sight. I currently operate a 28′ zodiac ( note not capitalizing ” zodiac” for a reason) with twin 300’s and all electronics including FLIR. I work night and day and all weather depending on task.
    Being in Florida, the need for an outtershell is very important. We currently use another foul weather gear system which I don’t think I should name in here and it is now ripped, and the zipper has failed. The zippers have to be bombproof as we are always zipping and unzipping and under stress I don’t have time to deal with a stuck zipper. So I pull harder. LOL
    Nonetheless; The Stealth LT Looks like a great product and worth a try. Thanks for the review.

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